De Havilland Biplane 2
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De Havilland Biplane 2

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De Havilland Biplane 2

Terrence Murphy, 09.02.2012

This is really the Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2 designed by Geoffrey de Havilland.

The crashed F.E.1 was "rebuilt" in August 1911 as the F.E.2. In fact it was a "rebuild" in name only, as it was a completely new design, incorporating few if any actual components of the original (at this stage Farnborough were still not authorised to build aircraft from scratch). The Iris engine, seriously damaged in the F.E.1 crash, was replaced by a 50 hp. Gnome rotary engine, a two seater nacelle was fitted, and the fore-elevator was replaced with one incorporated into a sesquiplane tail in the conventional manner. In this form many tests were carried out, including the fitting of a machine gun, and seaplane trials, fitted with a single central float. At this point the F.E.2 was powered by a 70 hp (52 kW) Gnome.[
In 1913 the F.E.2 design was once more heavily reworked with a new and streamlined nacelle, upper wing panels which extended the span to 42 ft (12.08 m) and a revised tail with a smaller rudder and tailplane lifted to the top longerons. The Gnome was replaced by a 70 hp (52 kW) air cooled Renault V-8 engine. Effectively, although the factory now routinely constructed original aircraft, it was another case of a new design reusing the designation of an older one. It was lost in a crash in February 1914 when the pilot, R. Kemp lost control while in a dive, killing his passenger.

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